On this day, 17 April, 2012, Greek music legend Dimitris Mitropanos passed away aged 64 leaving a chasm in the entertainment scene but memories that will last forever, as his songs have never ceased to be played.
In fact, Australian audiences will have the opportunity to listen to some of his greatest hits courtesy of the upcoming Australian tour of none other than Stelios Dionisiou, himself the son of the legendary Stratos Dionisiou.
Dimitrios Mitropanos was born on April 2nd, 1948, in the city of Trikala in northwest Thessaly where he lived until the age of 16. He began his incredible music career in 1964.
He worked with some of the best known Greek composers, such as Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos, Madra Mandicencio, Manos Hadtzidakis, Marios Tokas and Thanos Mikroutsikos and had been one of the top performers of Greek popular music for over four decades.
Mitropanos was known to be a heavy smoker, which some say is evident from the way his voice progressively changed over the course of his career.
From an early age, Mitropanos, worked summers to help his family financially. First as a waiter in his uncle’s restaurant and later at ribbon cutting wood. After the third grade of junior high, in 1964, he went to Athens to live with his uncle. Before finishing high school he began working as a singer.
At the same age, after the encouragement of Grigoris Bithikotsis, whom he met at a gathering of his uncle’s company, where he sang, he visited Columbia.
There, Takis Lampropoulos introduced him το Giorgos Zampetas, with whom will work alongside at “Ksimeromata”. Dimitris Mitropanos considers Giorgos Zampetas as a great teacher and a second father to himself.
As stated, “Zambetas is the only man in music which helped me without expecting anything. With all my other colleagues they got something and gave something“.
In 1967, Mitropanos records his first album with the song “Thessaloniki”.
This followed the recording of “Chameni Paschalia”, a song that was censored by the Greek military junta thus never released.
In the course mapped out on the street of folk art song, 1972 is a milestone.
The composer Dimos Moutsis and the lyricist and poet Manos Eleftheriou released “Agios Fevrouarios” with Mitropanos and Petris Salpeas as the song’s performers, marking a milestone in Greek music.
In July 1999, Mitropanos and Moutsis met again on stage at the “Odeon” with Dimitra Galani and the soprano Julia Souglakou for two nights at the Athens Festival.
The concerts were recorded live and released on a double CD two months later.
George Katsaros’s “The Road to Cythera” and Giorgos Hatzinasios’s “Ta Sinaxaria” followed suit, projects of high quality with a high profile in Greek society.
In a long career in the Greek music industry, Dimitris Mitropanos collaborated with leading artists of the Laïko and Éntekhno music. Giorgos Zampetas, Mikis Theodorakis, Dimos Moutsis, Apostolos Kaldaras, Takis Mousafiris, Christos Nikolopoulos (“Pare Apofaseis” with lyrics by Lefteris Papadopoulos), Yannis Spanos were composers with whom Mitropanos collaborated, building a career intertwined with the Laïko tradition, until the late 1980s.
In 2010, Mitropanos performed a North American Tour for the first time in over 10 years since his last visit to the United States.
During his tour, he performed a concert on July 1, 2010 at Radio City Music Hall in front of a near capacity crowd.
He performed many of his famous songs that were written in the earlier stages of his career as well more recent songs that continue to be popular among Greeks, such as “Ρόζα,” “Πάντα γελαστοί,”Tα Λαδαδικα,” and many more.
Mitropanos concluded his concert with a passionate performance of his famous song “Αλίμονο,” with all in attendance giving him a standing ovation as he walked off the stage.
Mitropanos sadly passed away on April 17, 2012 after suffering from a heart attack and pulmonary edema.
He will always be remembered as one of Greece's most recognisable voices and legend of the rebetika genre.